Sunday, January 27, 2019

Blue Marsh Lake, PA - Western Loop from Old Church Road

Blue Marsh Lake - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

GPS Coordinates 40.407240, -76.078889
Old Church Road Parking Lot

Blue Marsh Lake Trail System - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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Loop only - 7.5 miles
With out and back to Lake Road - 11 miles

In order to make a loop, we had to walk out of the parking lot ...
... and turn left on Old Church Road to cross on the bridge.
View to the left from the bridge.
View to the right of the bridge - this would be the loop portion of the hike from left, crossing another bridge and returning on the right.
But we turned left after the bridge because I needed to complete a portion to meet up where Shawnee and I had left off in 2013.
The trail turns left on to an old paved road for a short distance.
Then leaves to the right uphill.
At the top ...
... some partial views to the right.
The trail splits where horses are not allowed to the left, they go on the trail to the right.
No horses allowed on this section because there are several bridges to cross.
We would take the horse trail going back.
In the winter you can see the outline of the trail ahead ...
... and I could see something way down there.
It would be balloon #2 of the year but Brodie was not interested because some joggers were going by up on the trail.
Back on the trail.
At this point we met up where Shawnee and I had left off so we headed back.
Now taking the horse trail to the left.
This trail, quite different from the pedestrian/bike only part, skirts the edges of fields with some nice countryside views.
Meeting back up with the pedestrian/bike only trail joining in from the right.
At Old Church Road ...
... we cross over to continue on the trail just before the guardrail.
Looking back down at the parking lot which was packed.  We only came across a few other people early on in the loop then only two joggers the rest of the time.
Looking back on Old Church Road where we had crossed the bridge from the parking lot.
After going through a gas pipeline, the trail comes to a T-intersection where the marker is missing.  It's a left turn on to the old paved road.
After coming out of the yellow gate, it's a hard right on to the trail - again the sign is missing.  I had to consult my app a couple of times in this area to determine which way to go.
Trail markers resume so it's clear where to go from here on out.
That bridge up ahead is where we would be crossing.
The trail descends steeply.
Then climbs back up again.  That is pretty much the way the trail flows along this side of Blue Marsh Lake.
Taking a break on a log.
Coming up on the bridge.
But first balloon #3 of the year.
It's not a crossing, turn right on the road ...
... to cross the bridge.
View from the bridge.
The trail continues to the right just the other side of the bridge.
This section of trail runs right next to Route 183 with lots of traffic noise but I did not find it annoying since there was so  much to look at and it's relatively flat after all of the ups and downs on the other side.
This old concrete structure made a nice break spot.
The trails had stayed pretty frozen until almost the end of the hike when thawing turned parts into mud pits.
Coming up on Old Church Road.
Of course one last slog of mud before having to put Brodie in the car :(.  Amazingly, by the time we get home he is dry and there is no mud on him.  It all falls off in the back seat of my car.
Crossing Old Church Road back to the parking lot.
No sooner had we pulled out of the parking lot when it started to rain.  We made it just in time.